The Chairman of the Irish Shellfish Association, Michael Mulloy, has welcomed delegates to the opening of an international conference on shellfish safety. The conference will be held this week in Nui Galway, finishing on May 18th.
There are currently almost 2,000 people employed in the aquaculture sector in Ireland, 92% of which are male.
The event, the International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS), is hosted in a different country every two years and attracts global scientists, students and food safety experts. They all join together to hear about the latest strides made in shellfish safety for consumers.
Mayo mussel farmer, Michael Mulloy, with over 30 years’ experience in the industry said of the conference, “Local communities in Ireland, the tourism sector and the economy all benefit from our activity, which is simply about producing delicious, nutritious and safe seafood from the Irish coast. The Irish industry takes food safety very seriously and, as a trading nation dependent on food exports, Ireland must ensure we have a secure and trustworthy system based on world-class systems and science.
He went on to tell us that “Ireland exported live oysters to a value of €33 million, and mussels worth €16 million, in 2016.” He also added that “The industry along the west, south and east coasts employs 1,200 people full time in peripheral areas. The oyster industry relies on fresh live exports and is opening up new markets in Asia, which gives a premium for top quality Irish product. The mussel sector supplies an important home and export processing market.”
He added that safety controls now in place in Ireland have developed to be among of the “most reliable and sophisticated in the world.” He also stated that “Irish shellfish farmers pride themselves on their wealth and quality of knowledge and data, as well as on the expertise employed in the private and public sector in Ireland to ensure our products are of the highest standard.”
He added that current improvements in the sector are down to the Scientific progress of the last 15 years which has been “promoted and embraced by Ireland, which has gained a deserved reputation as one of the leading expert centres on shellfish safety in the EU and worldwide.”
Michael Mulloy concluded his statement by saying “The Irish Shellfish Association, as a partner with the Marine Institute, NUI Galway, BIM and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, is delighted to showcase the scientific, environmental and regulatory strengths of the Irish shellfish safety regime. We look forward to showcasing to delegates during the week the best Irish shellfish and most progressive and safety conscious farms in Ireland, located in waters we regard as the finest in the world.”
The conference began on Sunday the 14th of May and continues until its final day on May 18th.